China National Aero-Technology Import-Export Corp., (CATIC) and US-based Tang Energy Group have announced a funding and turbine supply partnership in the U.S. with a potential investment value of up to $300 million, according to research firm Energing Energy Resources, Cambridge, Mass. EER adds that CATIC aims to bridge a gap in U.S. wind-project funding and Chinese wind turbine manufacturing credibility by acting as lender and guarantor.
To date, Chinese turbine suppliers claim just 10 units installed in the U.S., as they remain focused on their domestic market or small-scale deliveries to emerging markets. While the CATIC-Tang partnership will likely face some difficulty securing viable project deals, it will nonetheless open a new channel for Chinese suppliers to enter the U.S., where European and U.S. manufacturers can expect a measurable increase in price-driven competition in the 1.5 MW to 2 MW wind turbine segment by 2011.
Founded in 1995 as a clean energy investment company with a presence in both China and the US, Tang Energy has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the state-owned China Aviation Industry Corporation (CAIC), an industrial group tasked with overseeing the R&D, production, and domestic sale of Chinese civilian and military aircraft. As one of the 10 subsidiaries of CAIC, CATIC has historically managed international sales of Chinese aircraft, engines, and other aeronautical military equipment. Due to recently declining demand for these products, CATIC and its parent company have expanded their focus on the civilian sector.
Although CATIC places no limitations on project size, location, or turbine model in its new agreement with Tang, its funding conditions require projects to use Chinese-brand turbines. Tang will primarily act as finance intermediary between CATIC and developers with mature US wind projects. The company will also serve as a Chinese turbine broker through its subsidiary Soaring Wind Energy, which represents manufacturers in the accompanying table.
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